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The Importance of Fire Safety at Home

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The Importance Of Fire Safety At Home Fires can be devastating. They can tear apart families and destroy homes. The worst thing about fires at home and within business is that most of them are entirely preventable. Over 72% of the recorded fatalities from fires occur in the home. Every day, people start fires by falling asleep with cigarettes in their hands, leaving candles burning in unattended rooms and by leaving discarded items in front of open fireplaces. The fires that are started are careless and completely avoidable. Also, we can't forget fireworks. It can seem like a good idea to celebrate a happy occasion with fireworks or by setting off a glowing lantern. If you do decide to release any of these items, consider the following:
Can you insure that you will not be endangering anyone around you?
Do you have enough room to set it out, unobstructed into the night?
Accidents are all too common where these items are concerned and you wouldn’t want to be responsible for any devastating consequences. Perhaps consider going to a staged event or an area away from the home to enjoy fireworks or glowing lanterns. Also in recent days, there have been stories of debilitating fires, that have destroyed homes and taken lives all across our region, even in the Oxon Hill area. During October 2010, there was a fire in the Rosecroft Mews Apartment Complex, on the 2400 block of Corning Avenue in Fort Washington, MD, which is very close to the Oxon Hill/Fort Washington border off of Brinkley Road. The fire at Rosecroft Mews is still under investigation, but it is a reminder of just how important it is to take precautions to prevent such an occurrence to happen, if at all possible. At the end of 2009, there was a fire at the Brookside Park Condominiums that caused an estimated $1.5 million worth of damage and displaced 67 residents into temporary homes. The cause of this fire was an unattended candle. And what's even more glaring is the effect these fires have on a number of families who live in multi-family residents. With this said, it is important that we understand the importance of fire safety in our own homes so that we prevent these circumstances for our families as well as those who live around us. According to the Home Safety Council website, to prevent fire damage and to prevent any fires from spreading we must:

With Smoke Detectors: * Have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills. If you build a new home, install fire sprinklers.
In the Kitchen: * Before cooking, roll up sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire. * Stay by the stove when cooking, especially when you are frying food. * Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet away from the range top. * If you must keep matches or lighters in your jacket or purse, put them in a place where children cannot see or touch them. * Know how to put out a small pan fire by sliding a lid over the flames.
With Space heaters: * Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
With Candles: * Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms. * Always use stable, candle holders made of material that won't catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc * Blow out candles when leaving the room.
With Cigarettes: * Use “fire-safe” cigarettes and smoke outside. * Use large, deep ashtrays on sturdy surfaces like a table. * Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash.
And in general: * Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher, and remember where it is located.
And one of the single most important steps to protecting your family and your belongings is to invest in renter's/homeowners insurance. This is advice that is important for those who live in detached homes, but also even more important for those who live in town homes, condominiums, and apartments, where people live attached to their neighbors. Having insurance will cover the replacement value of costly property such as televisions, laptops, and anything else of significant value. Once you have insurance, also take the time to make a list of items that you have in your possession and place the list in a safe place outside of your home, such as your car, a relative/close friend's place, or even sending it to yourself electronically by e-mail. Taking these steps, and sharing this information with your neighbors can give your community less of a hassle in the event of unfortunate circumstances.
Lastly, The Essential Fire Safety Tips You Need To Know: * Remember, prevention is always better than a cure. * At least one smoke alarm should be installed on every floor of your home. * Smoke alarms should be routinely tested to ensure that they are still functioning. This is a simple exercise which simply involves pressing the test button on the console. This should be done every two months without fail. * Emergency numbers should be clearly marked in a place everyone sees in your home. * Fire extinguishers should also be available on each floor of your home. * Children should not be left unattended near open fires or around electrical outlets. * Any equipment or belongings that are not flame retardant should be stored away from open fires. It is best practice to not have any obstructions around an open fire. * Lit candles should not be left unattended when you leave a room and should always be snuffed out before you retire to bed. * You should also consider devising a fire evacuation procedure in your home, especially if you live in a large building or have a number of children/relatives living in your home.…...

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